While the author makes several good and interesting points in this article, his
assertion that sports have nothing to do with academics is ridiculous. As a
college professor I'll be the first to tell you that sports have a lot to
do with academics. Students who attend college are at a stage in their life
where they are forming their identities. Collegiate athletics can be
instrumental in connecting them with other students and to the college campus
and larger community. Many students go to specific colleges for their sports
programs while many others simply benefit by having something to do/care about
that isn't academics.
I agree. What in the world does inter school athletic competition have to do
with education? When was the last time Harvard or Yale or Columbia had a great
football team? BYU-Idaho dropped athletics, added a comprehensive intramural
activities program,and both the university and their intramural program are
thriving. Hundreds of students are participating and they love it.I
think we should take a look at high school sports as well. What is the
educational value of high school sports? A lot of taxpayer dollars go into
funding these teams that could actually go into education. There are high
schools that have great intramural programs involving a lot of students who
would not otherwise be involved and it costs almost nothing. Replace the
current high school sports program with intramurals and there would be more
student involvement at a lot less cost. That's an educational win/win. Next
time the legislature takes up school funding they should consider prohibiting
the use of taxpayer money for the use of inter-school athletics so the dollars
could actually go to education. What a novel idea!
What Nate fails to realize is that mens Football and Basketball at most major
universities is tasked with funding not only themselves but also Golf, Swimming,
Volleyball, Softball, Baseball,and as many as 32 total sports programs. Mens
Football and Basketball also responsible for funding women's athletics
teams. If Football and Basketball were separated they could easily survive, even
thrive but what about the other sports.
Mr. Gagon, once again you have altered my life for the better! I had never
considered the state of collegiate athletics in such a way! My eyes are now
open, and I see the beautiful, glorious light of progression. Today, I am a
@Wiscougarfan:I don't think the author tried to say that sports
has not become a part of our academic culture in America. I think he is making
the point that this mixing of sports culture and academic culture might not be a
good thing and that inherently sports has nothing to do with higher learning. In
most countries in the world sports and universities are not joined like they are
in America. Like the author says, there would be resistance, but college
students would find other things to do besides sports that just might be more
useful and meaningful in the long run. Plus there still would be sports, just
not to the same commercial level as now where college athletics is essentially
the same as pro sports.
As a former college athlete, I can say that college athletics can be very
educational for those who wish to take advantage of the experience. College is a
time in life to grow and learn. The experiences and habits developed during this
time had a significant influence on my growth and development as a person. These
experiences influenced me in grad school and in my profession today. There is no
doubt that problems exist within college athletics that must be addressed. But a
complete separation of college and athletics is not a serious solution to the
@Wiscougarfan your argument would be a good argument for intramural sports, but
not for extramurals as they now exist.Colleges have a strong
interest in helping a broad swath of their students be physically active, meet
other students, and find non-destructive things to do for fun outside of their
studies. A good intramural program can help accomplish that. But any needs and
wants which are served by extramural sports would be better served by a local
professional or semi-pro team unaffiliated with the university.@Silent Lurker, the majority of college men's basketball and football
programs lose money even considered on their own. FBS schools report about 50%
in both sports making a profit, but even that involves cooking the books
(counting athletic fees charged to all students as football revenue, giving huge
'interest free loans' to the football program for facility
construction, etc). FCS schools practically never make a profit. Also, while
your claim that they pay for all other sports is overblown, Title IX compliance
is part of the cost of doing business.
Sports and education support each other. Too many student athletes would have to
choose between one or the other. Countless student athletes benefit
from getting an education while participating in non-revenue sports.
The author left one thing out of his arguments: What is best for the athlete.
The great majority of college athletes are there for the education. The
athletics are a means to that end. A minuscule number of college athletes will
ever play professionally. To many people, like the author, glorify professional
sports, leaving many wannabes out in the cold when they fall short. And
remember, nearly all college athletes fall short. Those who take their
education seriously will be prepared.Now the author proposes having
them skip the college education, trading it instead for a "minor league"
experience. Talk about exploitation. The few who make it out of the minor
leagues will be fine financially. The rest will be left either a professional
career OR an education.Let's not leave the future of the
athlete out of the conversation.
"In any event, American universities should not be paying the contracts of
young athletes or compensating them in any way. Playing a sport has nothing to
do with higher learning."Exactly. That is the reason the
regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that athletes are
employees of the university and should be paid."Young people who
want to expand their minds and get a true education should not have to pay
ridiculous tuition amounts to support professional athletic programs." Most universities do have a fee that is specifically for athletic
programs that each student pays with their tuition. At most universities it is
about $150. That isn't "ridiculous" compared to the rest of the
tuition they have to pay.
The University of Cincinnati Athletic Director said that the athletic budget
there is only 4 percent of the total school budget and attracts over 400,000
people to campus each year. We often forget the advertising value (advertising
is always expensive) of extramurals and that combined with the cultural benefits
make them worth it. ESPN has a breakdown of what public schools made/lost on
athletic programs and most of them do suffer a slight loss. However, the
advertising value of that the sports bring is worth more than those losses.
"Our universities should not serve as corporate minor league systems for pro
sports any longer."So only non-athletes should get to use the
school to go pro?
There are a few good points but mainly I disagree. First off, fast food is
wonderful - who doesn't need a junior bacon cheeseburger every now and
then? Second, college sports are fun to watch and a nice way to give students a
break from studies and to express loyalty to their schools. Third, for the
grand majority of the college athletes that don't make it to the pros,
they're getting an education which has benefits for all of society.
College recruiting is a dirty dirty business, as are many other aspects of
college sports, because it is not about the education. Remember the Oklahoma
State Sports Illustrated report?
Nate, are you advocating forcing universities to give up athletics? Universities have a choice. While many choose to have extramural sports
programs, some choose not to. I'm all for tranperancy in
letting prospective students know just how much, if anything, the extramural
sports program will cost them should they decide to attend a given
university.But as long as universities have a choice and students
have a choice, what's to be gained in prohibiting univerisities that choose
to have extramural sports from doing so and students who what to attend such
schools from doing so.Compulsion has a well-deserved negative
Not a good idea at all.
This needs to happen Yesterday!
I love college sports but I also understand that they are not sustainable.
College debt is getting out of control and some of it is coming from athletic
programs. How much has the tuition increased since the University of Utah
joining the PAC 12? That goes the same for other schools when they are trying to
build up their sports teams. The students and taxpayers are subsidizing these
programs so 99% of colleges are not making money.
The simplest and most cost effective way to eliminate the vast majority of the
issues facing collegiate athletics these days is to eliminate athletic
scholarships. Keep the athletic department, still offer the sports, but stop
offering scholarships. Certainly the level of competition would drop a bit, but
the traditions, student interest, and community interest would still exist. The
Ivy League and Patriot League both have done away with athletic scholarships but
both still offer healthy and vibrant athletic programs. I grew up in an Ivy
League town and the community still rallied around the athletic programs. The
only losers in such a system would be the NFL and NBA who might lose their quasi
professional developmental league.
Nate said – “But human beings adapt to their circumstances; whatever
space is left open in people’s lives by the changes proposed here would
quickly be filled by something else.”You are absolutely
correct, Nate. In fact, there are many individuals from Internet casino
operators to pornographic film producers who would love nothing more than to
fill those spaces “left open” with their form of entertainment. Nate said – “I don’t want to get crazy here, but some
might even, dare I say, spend more time paying attention to the other people in
their lives.”Your right, Nate. The father and son who are busy
with school and work whose only activity together might be watching or attending
a football or basketball game. Oh well. The step-brother and step-father with
nothing in common except their interest in the local sports teams. Too bad.
@androolYou said – “The simplest and most cost effective
way to eliminate the vast majority of the issues facing collegiate athletics
these days is to eliminate athletic scholarships.”Perhaps
universities should also get rid of music, performing arts, journalism and
science scholarships too. If the athletes should have to pay their own way, so
should everyone else.
Sounds to me like the author is a poor sport. He might be able to make free
throws but he can't play the rest of the game. Football made it possible
for me to go to college and. Most college athletes never will play
professionally but we have a good time representing the school. If you
want no college athletics, fine but let's also cut out choir and band and
drama and dancing because those also are a distraction from getting an
The value of a college education isn't just in how much money it can help
you earn in your career. We are churning out far too many poorly educated
millionares in this country and this will be to our detriment. Also, the
majority of college athletes will never play their sport professionally. Even
those from the big name programs. Separating sports from academics will take
away a great opportunity from a lot kids who otherwise couldn't afford
college and will also never play professionally. This is a bad idea.
Some keep making the claim that the tax payers of the State of Utah support the
intercollegiate athletic programs at the U of U. I have reviewed the audited
financial statements of the U of U and here is what I found for FY'13: The
U has an annual $3.2 (2013) billion operating budget. That budget has numerous
sources of revenues. The State Legislature appropriates $253 (2012) million
taxpayer funds to that budget. And that support from the State has dropped from
75% to 48% over the past 30 years thus tuition hikes. All of this appropriation
goes toward what is called the education mission of the U. None of it is
appropriated to athletics. It is reasonable to assume that some of the
"institutional support" money including student fees (which are approved
by the elected student body senate) that may fund athletics comes from that $3.2
billion budget but is again outside the State's $253 million appropriation.
That is how it is possible to have "institutional support" money
flowing to the athletic department but not have it coming directly from the
State's taxpayers. So stop worrying. The taxes you pay the State of Utah
are not supporting Utah's athletic teams.